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Xinjiang's Aywang


Xinjiang's Aywang


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Aywang is a Uygur word that meas “where brightness resides”. It is also the name of a dwelling typical of the Uygurs in Xinjiang. Aywang is a popular architectural style in Xinjiang and it got its name from Aywang Hall. It exhibits a distinctive ethnic quality of the Uygurs and is also representative of the regioin of Xijiang.
Aywang Hall is the largest, tallest, best decorated, and brightest of such residences. Inside the hall, there are 8 columns that extend out of the ceiling, with high windows to allow sunlight into the hall. Around the columns are raised platforms for all the daily activities from work to play. On festive occasions, it becomes an open space for Uygur people to celebrate with songs and dances. Aywang Hall thus becomes the model by which all the other rooms in an aywang are built.
From an architectural perspective, an aywang is entirely an interior of a building, which is also the living room of a residence. But in terms of its functions, it can be regarded as an outdoor venue for entertaining guests, holding gatherings, and music and activities. The aywang is a perfect building that best fit the weather conditions in their regions, shielding the inhabitants against sandstorms, cold, and the harsh weather in summer. Hence it is a residence that is built based on the geographical and culture landscapes of the inhabitants. The distinctive weather conditions of Xinjiang would be source of inspiration to the Uygurs in creating the aywang.
The interior of the Uygur residence is neat and presentable. Its walls are decorated with woven objects such as woven curtains and wall felts, and the floor is carpeted. To obtain heat, there is fireplace or fire pit, which does not dirty or pollute house easily. The Uygurs commonly use gypsum as material in creating decorative designs on the walls, eaves and mihrab.
source: Chinese Architecture, published by China International Press

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